Nonfiction Favorites for #NonfictionNovember

It’s #NonfictionNovember this month, with different sites hosting different topics each week to post about, all celebrating and exploring great nonfiction. I considered participating earlier, but it’s always nonfiction day/week/month in my life and it was easier to just write book reviews like usual instead of thinking about topics or lists. I’m a lazy blogger at the moment. But this week had such an great … Continue reading Nonfiction Favorites for #NonfictionNovember

Midyear Recap (…A Little Late)

I wasn’t planning to do a midyear best-of list, and July is already half gone, so…well past the halfway mark. But realizing how many truly excellent nonfiction titles have come out already this year, I thought a year-end recap would be way too long if I didn’t collect some standouts from the year’s beginning! And I promise these are worth every minute of your precious … Continue reading Midyear Recap (…A Little Late)

Outsiders Bearing Witness to Revolution

Caught in the Revolution: Petrograd, Russia, 1917 – A World on the Edge by Helen Rappaport Helen Rappaport, author of 2014’s popular history The Romanov Sisters, among other titles on history and royals both Russian and otherwise, explains in her acknowledgments for Caught in the Revolution that while working as a historian she was struck by “…how much seemed to have been written about the revolution by Russians, … Continue reading Outsiders Bearing Witness to Revolution

We’re All Done Here, 2016

As the year closes, I want to sincerely thank everyone who reads and follows What’s Nonfiction. I’ve loved sharing my thoughts on books and stories, new and old, hearing your opinions, and following your own writings and art. I hope the next year continues to bring connections with bloggers and readers. One of the best parts of reading something great is telling someone else about it (or on … Continue reading We’re All Done Here, 2016

Children of the Cult

Book review: The Sound of Gravel, by Ruth Wariner After reading and watching Going Clear last year, Lawrence Wright’s detailed expose on Scientology, I’ve been fixated on reading about extremist religions, especially those verging on the cultish. Seeing Bill Maher’s documentary Religulous around the same time further fueled this: I loved seeing him use his trademark cynicism coupled with hard, like-it-or-not-styled facts to debunk religious mythology across the spectrum of different … Continue reading Children of the Cult

On Long Island, Victims Are a Long Time Lost

Book review: Lost Girls, by Robert Kolker In the early morning hours of May 1, 2010, Shannan Gilbert, who was working as an escort, took off running into the dark marshland of Oak Beach, a private residential community in Suffolk County, Long Island where she’d had a professional date. Her disappearance was the catalyst for the discovery of what would turn out to be ten murder victims. Some were scattered and … Continue reading On Long Island, Victims Are a Long Time Lost

Touring and Celebrating America’s History of Immigration, Spice by Spice

Note: This a book review blog. I only post book reviews. But right now I, like many Americans, am still reeling from the election of a sexist, racist, xenophobic, narcissistic, pathological lying, reality TV caricature, sexual assault-committing loudmouthed bigot to the highest office in our nation. I know that we’ll be able to move forward and grow from this, in my heart and inspired by the values and beliefs that my own … Continue reading Touring and Celebrating America’s History of Immigration, Spice by Spice

Biography of a Hospital

Book review: Bellevue, by David Oshinsky Pulitzer-prize winning journalist David Oshinsky writes a comprehensive, readable history of New York City’s legendary public hospital, which along the way becomes a slice of social history of the city itself and an outline of the development of American medical practices as well. The name alone is enough to evoke imagery, associations, some realistic and some fantasy (the name being synonymous, … Continue reading Biography of a Hospital

100 Years Ago, We Became Afraid of Sharks

Book review: Close to Shore, by Michael Capuzzo I read this last week while hiding in bed on a gray, chilly day that exemplifies the uglier side of October in Europe, recuperating from an unexpectedly difficult, supposed-to-be-routine medical procedure. This book turned out to be the perfect distracting read. I don’t know why that’s exactly relevant, but somehow it felt like it. I’d put off reading it for awhile and … Continue reading 100 Years Ago, We Became Afraid of Sharks

The Darkness of Someone Else’s Past

Book review: I Will Find You, by Joanna Connors Journalist Joanna Connors is unbelievably brave, whether she admits it or not. She denies it in her memoir, I Will Find You, but everything she does proves otherwise. At age 30, Connors was raped by a man hanging out in an empty theater where she showed up late for a story she was doing for her job as a journalist at … Continue reading The Darkness of Someone Else’s Past

Appalachia and the American Dream

Book review: Hillbilly Elegy, by J.D. Vance The first three-fourths of Hillbilly Elegy was so, so close to being a perfect book to me. It’s the memoir of a still-young man looking back at his childhood and his family’s migration from impoverished, seemingly hopeless Kentucky to a moderately more hopeful Ohio. But like the old Russian adage that if you try to drink your troubles … Continue reading Appalachia and the American Dream

Spooks and Storytelling: We Scare Ourselves in Order to Live

Book review: Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places It’s almost Halloween!!! I LOVE Halloween, even if it’s been years since I bothered to dress up or do anything. Mostly I love the atmosphere in America at this time and a lifetime’s worth of happy Halloween memories. But most importantly, candy. And cakes, and cookies, and a plethora of other diabetes-inducing deliciousness that starts crowding supermarket, drugstore, … Continue reading Spooks and Storytelling: We Scare Ourselves in Order to Live